Argyle’s Olympic Equestrian Reyna Taylor

Argyle’s Olympic Equestrian Reyna Taylor

Argyle’s Olympic Equestrian
Reyna Taylor

by Barbara-Scott Kolb

Argyle resident Reyna Taylor’s life turned upside down after receiving a letter in the mail from the Special Olympics World Games. The Taylor family could not contain their excitement when they read the news that Reyna had been invited to represent the United States in Equestrianism at the 2019 Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi.

Reyna was diagnosed with autism at age 4. Shortly after her diagnosis, Reyna’s parents enrolled her in a therapeutic program, Riding Unlimited, and she quickly became enthralled with horses.

“I first got on a horse at six years old, and I didn’t want to get off,” Reyna said. “Riding horses has always made me feel free — free of any frustrations.”

Reyna now rides religiously at Stable Strides, under the guidance of professional trainer Mandy Cleveland. The hard work the duo put in has now qualified Reyna to compete on a global stage alongside the best equestrians in the world. During her first event in Abu Dhabi —the English Trail — Reyna lost balance, and her foot slipped out of the stirrup, which causes a disqualification at the World Games.

“It was hard to overcome; I was disappointed I couldn’t regain my balance,” Reyna said. “But I had a couple of days to regroup for my next event, the English Equitation, which is one of my strongest events.”

Despite a rocky start, she bounced back in her second appearance at the Games and earned the Bronze medal.

“Thrilled to have redeemed herself with an incredible performance, Reyna stated, “Winning the Bronze was a huge relief as a result of all my hard work; it was the best feeling to turn around and hug my coach.”

Reyna wrapped up her Olympic debut taking 6th place in her final event, Dressage. Upon the family’s arrival back home, not only were they met with a community parade in Reyna’s honor, but the town of Argyle also declared a “Reyna Taylor Day.”

“The parade was amazing; I was overwhelmed with emotion to see my friends and the community come out to celebrate me,” Reyna said.

Her parents, Jim and Yolanda Taylor, have been adamant in their pursuit of instilling a strong work ethic in Reyna, no matter the obstacles she faces.

“She works hard with a determination and passion that defines who she is, as she is living her life without a glass ceiling,” her mother stated. “I couldn’t have imagined that what began as a little girl’s quiet interest in horses would open her world up to achieving not only life’s typical milestones but finding herself on the world stage.”

While Reyna revels in her recent accomplishments from Abu Dhabi, she has already started preparing for her next events. She will return to competition at the State Special Olympics in May, followed by the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.

Congratulations to Reyna Taylor for representing the U.S. impeccably and demonstrating the importance of inclusion for all athletes.

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